The Critical Mass

Why we need clouds

During the Thanksgiving morning walk in the woods with the dog, she did as she always does, trotting 15 or 20 yards ahead of me, frequently glancing over her shoulder, checking to see if I’m still there. She has the same look on her face that I’ve seen on all of my dogs over the years when they’re in the woods: CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!

As we shuffled through the fallen leaves, I thought about how disconnected we were from the world at that moment. Neither of us had a phone. There was no way for anyone to contact us, or track us, or direct-market sell us something through a crafty set of algorithms. No GPS or device for us to ask, “Where the hell are we, Siri?” No news, no Trump.

Disconnected from the world. It’s a good place to be.

It was kind of a cloudy morning.

I thought about how technology has changed the way we tell stories. Remember how things used to work in Gotham City? Commissioner Gordon would run up to the roof and turn on the Bat-Signal, a giant searchlight outfitted with the silhouette of a bat, and shine it on a cloud overhead. It was always cloudy at night in Gotham City. And miles away Bruce Wayne, wearing a smoking jacket, would happen to be standing by one of the hundreds of windows in Wayne Manor, enjoying the view, when he’d spot the Bat-Signal on the cloud, and off he and Robin the Boy Wonder would go.

Today, you’d have Commission Gordon saying, “What, the Riddler is back in town? I’ve got Batman’s cell phone on my speed dial.”

Takes all of the drama, and the haunting imagery, out of the story.

Not that important, I suppose. Just something I was thinking about on Thanksgiving morning.

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